By Dave Andrusko
The New York Times, the unofficial house organ of the Abortion Industry, published a nearly 2,100 word story today under the much understated headline of “Planned Parenthood Is Accused of Mistreating Pregnant Employees.”
Written by Natalie Kitroeff and Jessica Silver-Greenberg, the story attempts to soften the blow by blaming various efforts to defund Planned Parenthood and cushioning the accusations by placing PPFA’s actions in a larger context of what the Times described as the “widespread” problem of discrimination “against pregnant workers.”
That having been said, the story is explosive.
We learn that “a dozen lawsuits filed against Planned Parenthood clinics in federal and state courts since 2013 accused managers of denying workers rest periods, lunch breaks or overtime pay, or retaliating against them for taking medical leave.” That is independent of settlements reached out of court.
Kitroeff and Silver-Greenberg write that Planned Parenthood
has been accused of sidelining, ousting or otherwise handicapping pregnant employees, according to interviews with more than a dozen current and former employees.
In interviews and legal documents, women at Planned Parenthood and other organizations with a feminist bent described discrimination that violated federal or state laws — managers considering pregnancy in hiring decisions, for example, or denying rest breaks recommended by a doctor.
In other cases, the bias was more subtle. Many women said they were afraid to announce a pregnancy at work, sensing they would be seen as abandoning their colleagues.
Some of those employers saw accommodating expecting mothers as expensive and inconvenient. Others were unsympathetic to workers seeking special treatment.
Later in the story, we learn
And at Planned Parenthood, the country’s leading provider of reproductive services, managers in some locations declined to hire pregnant job candidates, refused requests by expecting mothers to take breaks and in some cases pushed them out of their jobs after they gave birth, according to current and former employees in California, Texas, North Carolina and New York.
Many of the executives at the affiliates simply flatly denied they had discriminated at all. The story is built around the devastating experience of Ta’Lisa Hairston who worked as a medical assistant at the Planned Parenthood’s clinic in White Plains, N.Y. (We’ll return to Ms. Hairston’s story momentarily.) “Vincent Russell, the regional chief executive who oversees the office where Ms. Hairston worked, denied her accusations,” The Times reported.
Planned Parenthood’s new president was more discreet:
“I believe we must do better than we are now,” Leana Wen, the president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement. “It’s our obligation to do better, for our staff, for their families and for our patients.”
Ms. Wen said the organization was investigating the allegations of pregnancy discrimination reported by The New York Times. The organization also is conducting a review to determine the cost of providing paid maternity leave to nearly 12,000 employees nationwide.
After another pass at tempering the magnitude of the accusations (“tight budgets”), the reporters returned to the allegations.
Managers have discriminated against pregnant women and new mothers, according to interviews with the current and former Planned Parenthood employees and with organizers from the Office and Professional Employees International Union, which represents some Planned Parenthood workers.
In Miami, one current and two former employees said that women at a Planned Parenthood office were scared to tell managers they were pregnant. One of them said that, in conversations with supervisors, colleagues would often volunteer that they were not planning on having children or were gay or single.
“It was looked down upon for you to get pregnant,” said Carolina Delgado, who worked in the Miami office until 2012. “I don’t think that any supervisor had to literally say it for us to feel it.”
One evidence of how this story may have come to be written is that “Multiple Planned Parenthood executives said in interviews that they were eager for The Times to publish an article about the lack of paid maternity leave because they hoped it would lead to changes in the organization’s policies.”
The story begins and ends with the experience of Ta’Lisa Hairston whose high blood pressure threatened her pregnancy. A nurse had sent multiple notes recommending that she take frequent breaks (and 30 minutes for lunch) which Hairston says her supervisors brushed off.
Ms. Hairston’s hands and feet swelled; the clinic’s plastic gloves no longer fit. Her blood pressure got so high that her doctor put her on bed rest when she was seven months pregnant.
She returned to work on strict orders to not work more than six hours a day and to take regular breaks. One day in March, she worked a much longer shift. She soon became so sick that her doctor told her to go back on bed rest. A few days later, on March 23, she went to the hospital. Doctors performed an emergency C-section. She was 34 weeks pregnant.
When she had been on maternity leave for eight of the 12 weeks guaranteed by the Family and Medical Leave Act, Planned Parenthood’s human resources department called her multiple times and urged her to return to work early, Ms. Hairston said. She emailed the department and said she felt “discriminated against.” She resigned in June.
“I didn’t get into the medical field to be treated like this,” she said.
The last she heard from Planned Parenthood was a letter asking her to donate money. She threw it in the trash.
Before she stepped down as President in 2018, Cecile Richards was paid over $700,000.
The full story can be read here.